How to record Twitch streams for later viewing on a PC

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If you’re interested in watching your favorite gamers demonstrate their skills on Twitch, but simply aren’t presented with the time to watch them in real-time, look no further! I’ve collected and compiled a few different ways that you can record these streams for later viewing.

If you’re looking to archive your own livestreams, however, check out the second page to find the For Broadcasters section of the article, where I’ve detailed this process as well.

Using VLC media player

First and foremost, the most obvious step in this method is to download and install VLC media player, which you can grab here. Follow along with the steps provided by the setup wizard and, when you’re done, download and install Livestreamer. Assuming you’re running Windows, you can download the installer directly by clicking here.

Once again, follow along with the steps of the setup wizard. Then things get technical. With both programs now in hand, open up Command Prompt. You can do this in Windows 10 by typing Command Prompt into Cortana’s Ask me anything search bar. Similarly, in Windows 8.1, you can find Command Prompt by typing its name while on the Start Menu screen.

With Command Prompt open, type the phrase livestreamer http://www.twitch.tv/digital_trends high. Of course, change the URL to that of the channel you are trying to record. Additionally, you can change high to source to record the stream at its maximum quality, or you can adjust it according to your preference within the limits of the source video itself.

Doing this with a channel that’s currently online will initiate an instance of VLC player, complete with the desired livestream, front and center. With the hard part out of the way, now it’s time to start the recording. Navigate to Tools Preferences on the menu at the top of the screen, find Record directory or filename and select Browse.

After choosing a directory for your recording to end up, click Save. Next, select View Advanced Controls at the top of the screen. You should notice a new set of tools at your disposal.

Now when you open a stream in VLC player, you can utilize the recording button on the left to record the stream to the designated storage location. It is recommended, however, that you test the functionality first before attempting to record hours of content. You wouldn’t want to lose it due to a computing error, would you?

With Open Broadcaster Software

If you prefer using OBS over VLC to record streams, you’ll want to have the Open Broadcaster Software installed. If you’re on Windows, you can initiate a download of the installation file here. Alternatively, there are versions of the software available for Linux and OS X on OBS’s main website.

First things first, with the program installed, open it up and head to the Settings tab at the highest point of the screen. Click on it and then click Settings again. From there, you’ll want to select the file path in which recorded streams will be stored. Under the category Broadcast Settings, locate the section labeled File Path. Then, select Browse and choose where you want your files to be saved. Click OK to save your changes.

With the initial setup out of the way, make your way to the bottom of the main OBS window and right-click under Sources. After that, hover your cursor over Add, and add either Monitor Capture or Window Capture to your sources. Monitor Capture will record your entire screen no matter what’s displayed while Window Capture will focus on a single active window which you can manually specify.

When you’ve added a source, you can click on Start Recording to, well, start recording your screen. When you’ve finished recording, simply hit Stop Recording. You can then select File > Open Recordings Folder at the top to see the results.

For Broadcasters

If you’re interested in saving your own broadcasts rather than the broadcasts of others for future references, there are several ways of accomplishing this, a couple of which I’ve detailed below. These include Twitch’s built-in video on-demand archival service and even Open Broadcaster Software, which you can use to store recordings locally. Regardless of which method suits you best, with this handy guide, you’ll learn how to preserve your cherished gaming moments for generations to come!.. Or at least a couple of weeks.

Enabling video on-demand archival

The most pervasive method I know of for saving live Twitch broadcasts is by enabling the service’s integrated VOD system which, unlike alternative methods, does not require the use of third-party applications. Although it’s built-in to the Twitch infrastructure, video on-demand is initially disabled by default. To fix this, what you’re going to want to do is navigate to your settings page listed under channels and videos.

Once there, scroll down until you see the words “Automatically broadcast my archive.” Or, if you’re like me and you have trouble discerning anything within the monochromatic shades of text, just press the Ctrl and F keys at the same time and type it into the search bar that appears in the upper right-hand corner. Click on the box to the left of said text to enable automatic broadcast archival.

To ensure that your changes are saved, go ahead and select Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

From now on, broadcasts will be saved for future reference. Whether it’s to appease the fans that may have missed your original stream or to keep the footage handy for personal review, setting up Twitch to automatically archive your broadcasts is, by and large, the easiest way to uphold your legacy content. Unfortunately, it’s also the most temporary.

Twitch Turbo subscribers and those enrolled in the Twitch partner program will be allotted 60 days of storage for each archived video. For regular, non-paying broadcasters, videos will be erased after 14 days. On the bright side, highlights are stored forever on your channel. Highlighting a broadcast allows you to trim down your video to a 2-hour or less segment of the original stream.

To create a highlight, go to your profile and select the Past Broadcasts tab. Then, click the archived video you would like to highlight and you’ll be faced with two markers which you can use to select the beginning and end points of any particular segment you’d like to save. When you’ve chosen a highlight, go ahead and click “Describe Highlight”. You’ll then be asked to fill out some information about your video including a title, description, language, and the game being featured in the highlight video.

When that’s been completed, select Create Highlight. Two text boxes will be prompted, one with the URL in which the highlight can be accessed publicly and the other consisting of an embed link for use on your website. At this point, your highlight has been saved separately from the temporary VOD broadcast, unbounded by the limitations of an expiration date.

By recording your broadcasts locally to your hard drive

This option is slightly more complicated. First of all, third-party broadcasting software is required to make this work. Fortunately, unlike the previous method, you’ll be able to permanently store full-length streams to your hard drive, without the restraints imposed by Twitch’s VOD archival service, so if you see value in that, bear with me and I’ll make this as simple as possible.

Concerning the software, you’ll need either OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), XSplit, or virtually any other streaming app with support for Twitch. Personally, I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with OBS, but I’ll be sure to cover the major two in this section with some light suggestions for other applications.

With OBS

Once OBS is installed, open the software and navigate to the settings tab at the top of the new window. Click Settings, thereby initiating a drop-down menu. Then, click Settings again. A new window will launch. From here, select the third option from the top, labeled Broadcast Settings.

First, ensure that a check mark appears alongside Automatically save stream to file. With the most important step out of the way, it’s time to choose the file path, that is, the location on your computer where you want recorded streams to be saved. Click Browse… to the right of File Path: and its accompanying address bar.

It’s recommended that you choose a location you’ll remember. Perhaps it might even be a good idea to create a folder exclusively for recorded broadcasts, as exemplified below. After culling for a destination in which to store your broadcasts, you can determine an appropriate file name for the recording, or just leave it blank, in which case the date and time of the recording will serve as the default title for your video.

And that’s it! Now, as your begin your Twitch streaming expedition, every treasured moment will be automatically saved by OBS to your preferred directory.

Using Xsplit

With XSplit, you’ll be faced with a couple of options regarding installation. XSplit Broadcaster is intended for general video broadcasting while XSplit Gamecaster provides a live streaming experience specific to gaming. Depending on your needs, either program should work, and free versions are offered in either flavor, but for the purpose of this tutorial I’ll be using the vanilla XSplit Broadcaster since recording is considerably more straightforward in its video game-centric correspondent.

First, you’ll want to choose the directory in which recorded broadcasts are saved locally on your hard drive. Subsequent to its installation process, open XSplit and select Tools. A drop-down menu will commence, from which you’ll want to select My Recordings

From there, a new window will initiate, which will later be used to display a list of recordings. Towards the bottom of the window, click on the three dots to the right of the address bar labeled Location. Then, select the folder where you would like to store your broadcasts.

With that out of the way, the remainder of the process is quite simple. When you’re ready to begin recording a stream, just select Local Recording under the Broadcast tab drop-down menu. To tinker with more advanced configurations, select the settings “gear” icon to the right of the Local Recording menu item.

And that’s that…

That’s all there is to it! Whichever method you’ve decided to adopt, your Twitch streams are now preserved for future viewing. Of course, there are a number of other applications that can be used for broadcast archival. Ordinarily, within those programs, you’ll find the option to locally record under either General Settings or Other.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding information I may have overlooked, feel free to post in the comments section below this post and I’ll gladly help out.

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